Tag Archives: people

San Francisco – Amazing people

I’m posting a photo (or set of photos) each day, telling you about the location and where you can expect to find it in Book 5! And even though my new book is waiting for its title, you can actually pre-order it here (Waterstones) and here (The Book Depository) – I know, how crazy is that?

Today, I’d like to introduce you to some of the amazing people we met on our trip…

Peeps 1

This is Tony. He could be Kenny G’s cousin (but I don’t think he is). Tony was playing saxophone in the lovely Ghirardelli Square (more on this place soon). As with every other busker in the city, he had a great PA sound system! You might remember him from the most recent episode of my vlog (he was playing out at the end). Being a musician myself I was so impressed with the talent of the many street musicians we met – and also by the real regard local people have for music.

Peeps 3

This is the very grumpy lady who sells hand-knitted hats by the Powell turntable at Fisherman’s Wharf. I don’t know her name, but I was fascinated by the way she could serve people and carry on knitting at the same time…

Peeps 2

This guy is a comedy legend. He was playing to entertain the long line of people waiting for the cable cars at the Friedel Klussmann Memorial Turnaround at Fisherman’s Wharf. He had a great line in wry humour, thanking the people in the queue for ‘seeking out my exclusive gig’ and suggesting that the more one dollar bills people donated into his bucket, the faster he could make the cable cars arrive. His humour is the inspiration for Marty – a philosophising taxi driver and one of the regulars at Annie’s diner in Haight Ashbury (where Nell will volunteer to work during her San Francisco stay). Classic line: ‘My father always used to say something to me, and that thing I will share with you now: “Son,” he used to say, “wherever you go, there you are.” I like to live by that motto.’

Peeps 4

This is Frank and his dog, Jaq (the ‘Q’ is very important, apparently). I met them at The Warming Hut at West Bluff, in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, as Bob and I were enjoying a takeaway coffee in the sun, gazing out over the San Francisco Bay. To be precise, I met Jaq first when he trotted across the sea wall to say hello. As with everyone we met in San Francisco, they were very friendly and Frank told me how lucky we were to have a clear day. Dogs were everywhere in San Francisco, but especially here and Crissy Field park in the distance, where local people come to hang out, work out, enjoy BBQs and walk their dogs.

More coming tomorrow. Leave me a comment below! xx

Friendly people and dogs…

Everywhere we’ve been in San Francisco we’ve encountered two things: friendly people and dogs.

The friendly people aren’t just from California. They’re from all over the world. Some work and live here, others are visiting like we are. But everybody who has said hello and chatted to us has been upbeat and positive. I think San Francisco encourages the optimist out in you. Yesterday we met Brenda and Derek from Bournemouth on the boat trip, who were visiting San Francisco on the last leg of an 8-week round-the-world trip. We also met several friendly buskers around Fisherman’s Wharf and a bloke in Union Square who told us about Tony Bennett and took our photo for us. Today we met a very lovely Chinese man (and his dog) at the viewing point overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, who told us about his favourite places in his city. The lady at The Warming Hut (a fab cafe at the edge of Crissy Field near the bridge) asked us about Birmingham. And the busker entertaining the queue of people waiting for the cable car at Victoria Park remembered us from yesterday.

Dogs are everywhere: being walked (or carried) around Union Square, running with their jogging owners along Marina Street, playing on the beach by Crissy Field and riding the Muni trolley buses. They are all shapes and sizes and by and large are well-behaved and as friendly as their owners. San Franciscans LOVE their dogs. There’s even a ‘doggie couture’ boutique in Ghirardelli Square, selling everything your sartorially elegant pooch could possibly want!

One thing both friendly people and their dogs have in common is that you feel how happy they are to have you here. And that will be great for Book 5’s protagonist Nell Sullivan, because she visits San Francisco after being made redundant in her home city of London. After being used to the impersonality and avoidance of eye contact there, San Francisco will be the polar opposite – the difference enough to make her take a different view of herself and how she communicates with her world. I want Nell to experience a place where the best is expected for her, where she can allow herself to believe that anything is possible and where she dares to step outside of her comfort zone to discover what she’s capable of…

More tomorrow! xx